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Broad’s Management Consulting Academy inspires the next generation of consultants

By Vivian Tran, student writer
Monday, March 27, 2023

In business, firms often rely on management consultants to help solve some of their most challenging and pressing problems — and the industry is growing. According to Statista, approximately 2.2 million people in the United States worked in the consulting industry in 2022, an increase of roughly 1 million people over the past 12 years.

To prepare students for success in this in-demand field, the Broad College launched the Management Consulting Academy, serving all majors and academic levels across Michigan State University. While efforts have been ongoing in the college for years, in 2020 the MCA designated its first full-time director to continuously engage stakeholders and lead the vision for the academy.

By offering a comprehensive experience that combines curricular and extracurricular programming — including a course in consulting, case interview preparation, networking opportunities and skill-specific coursework — Spartans in MCA can hit the ground running in consulting.

Spartans involved in MCA have received over 60 internship and full-time offers at top consulting firms like McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Kearney, Accenture, EY and PwC.

“The most exciting part about MCA is the quantum of success that students have achieved for themselves in a relatively short period of time,” Venkat Matoory, MCA’s inaugural director, said. “Spartan talent has received endorsements from the industry’s best recruiters and at compensations that are industry standard.”

Spartans involved in MCA have received over 60 internship and full-time offers at top consulting firms like McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Kearney, Accenture, EY and PwC. Structured as an open pathway with intensifying levels of engagement, the overall experience at MCA is responsive to the student’s interest and chosen level of engagement. Typically, students join during their first or second year and then leverage MCA’s resources throughout their college career to prepare for internships and full-time roles as juniors and seniors.

Along with the network and resources provided through MCA, the Broad community offers a variety of consulting-related events for students to participate in as well. Most recently, 180 Degrees Consulting MSU partnered with Plante Moran to organize a case competition that took place on March 24.

“Management consulting provides a great springboard for people’s careers because it exposes them to a variety of different business situations and issues, and most often a variety of different industries, in a very short amount of time,” Nicholas Hays, faculty director of MCA, said.

Consulting 101: Interactive, personalized and effective

The Broad College’s MCA helps students gain an understanding of the management consulting industry and its segments, see how consulting firms operate, learn the abilities required to be a successful management consultant, develop the requisite skills to secure internships and placements and take part in hands-on management consulting experience.

“Through extensive internal and external stakeholder discussions, MCA developed what is called the 3E engagement model — educate, engage and enable — that has three overarching focus areas: attract, organize and enhance talent for management consulting; showcase scholars’ consulting prowess to management consulting firms; and convince firms to make permanent placement offers in consulting roles,” Matoory explained.

All of the academy’s resources and opportunities are available on MCA Connect, MSU’s management consulting portal. Students can use the portal to reach out to MCA to schedule an appointment to review their options and discuss various consulting careers.

“When meeting with Venkat, he will really talk through the steps that need to be taken in order to reach your goals, and he does this by understanding your strengths, weaknesses, interests and goals. He is a great mentor and someone you can lean on throughout the challenging process,” Kareena Boyina, supply chain management junior, said.

With the support of MCA, Boyina is looking forward to joining EY this summer as a technology consulting intern in its technology transformation practice.

Spartan consultants are diverse and collaborative

Although similar programs are offered at Cornell University, University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin–Madison, MCA is uniquely positioned as it serves a large, diverse array of majors across the university. In addition to the Broad College, students have participated from many disciplines and colleges thus far, including the Honors College, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Engineering, Lyman Briggs, College of Natural Sciences and James Madison College.

“I decided to join MCA because I knew that I was interested in pursuing a career in consulting; however, I was unsure about how to break into the industry. What I like most about MCA is that it gives me the opportunity to meet people who are full-time consultants and learn from their previous experiences and take their advice,” Anjay Yaple, applied engineering senior, said. “I learned more about the type of work that consultants do and the types of projects that they are staffed on. I also learned more about how to do well in case interviews and set myself apart from other applicants.”

MCA has given me opportunities and guidance on how to dive into the world of consulting. I knew that a community with shared interests would be a place I could learn and grow from others.
Kareena Boyina, supply chain management junior

Yaple completed an internship with PwC last summer in Chicago and will be returning to PwC in their Miami, Florida, office following graduation this spring as a cloud and digital strategy consultant. Yaple and Boyina are only two stellar examples among over 300 students who are currently part of MCA.

Boyina added, “MCA has given me opportunities and guidance on how to dive into the world of consulting. I knew that a community with shared interests would be a place I could learn and grow from others.”

Across the board, Spartans are ready to make an impact in consulting thanks to a strong network of MSU and Broad College alumni.

“We’ve created the MCA Connect platform to connect Spartan alumni who now work in consulting with current students who aspire to be in consulting. Our alumni have been incredibly supportive and excellent advocates for MSU within their respective consulting firms,” Hays shared. “In several cases, they have convinced their firms to recruit at MSU when they didn’t previously. Many of our alumni are also willing to work with MSU students one-on-one or in small groups to prepare them for interviews at their firms.”

MCA has made massive strides to create a positive impact on the MSU community and for students. It will undoubtedly continue to thrive with many more aspiring consultants to come.

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